Norris Number A1 Steel Jointing & Panel Plane

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Norris No. A1 Steel Jointing & Panel Plane
Norris No. A1 Steel Jointing & Panel Plane
as illustrated in the 1928 Norris Catalogue

Steel Dovetailed Jointing and Panel Planes
2½in. Cutters.

Fitted with rosewood and a gunmetal lever.

Panel Planes: Length 13½" 14½" 15½" 16½" 17½"
Price (1908 Price List)
Price (1914 Catalogue) 33/- 34/- 35/- 36/- 37/-
Price (1928 Catalogue) 64/- 66/- 68/- 70/- 72/-

Jointing Planes: Length 20½" 22½" 24½" 25½" 26½" 28½"
Price (1908 Price List)
Price (1914 Catalogue) 39/- 40/- 43/- 46/- 49/-
Price (1928 Catalogue) 76/- 79/- 89/- 99/-

NOTES: The No. A1 was offered in a range of sizes which I have broken into two groups above, Panel planes and Jointing planes, depending on the length.

The "A" designation meant that the plane came with the patented Norris adjustment mechanism for regulating the depth of cut. First patented in 1913, this ingenious device allowed for both lateral and the advancement, or retraction, of the cutter in the one unit. However it was not without its problems — most notably the backlash of the screw threads caused by wearing.

While early models were made of dovetailed steel plates, in the same manner as the Norris No. 1 planes, later planes were often made from castings, plates welded together, or steel channel milled to shape. Many A1's, particularly earlier models, used rosewood for their infill, later models used stained beech wood, walnut or mahogany depending on the era they were manufactured in as well as the availability of certain timbers. On some models the infills were screwed to the shell of the body from above, rather than from the side. This was particularly so on the later stained beech planes.

It is probably safe to say that there are no wedged versions of this plane, due to the adjustment mechanism. Certainly i've not seen them anyway. The levercaps come with either the "NORRIS / LONDON" or the "NORRIS / A1 / LONDON / PATENT ADJUSTABLE" marks stamped on them — the latter probably being earlier in manufacture, and used as a form of advertising on the newly offered planes.

Like the Norris No. 1, the side profiles follow the Spiers designs although, later on, Norris modified the design giving the planes a slightly higher, or deeper, side profile — particularly with the milled steel channel planes. An example of a milled plane can be found in the information section of this site.

Because these planes were manufactured up until the 1950's, some can be found with their packaging intact. The boxes, some of which can be seen in the images below, came with labels depicting an illustration of the plane on a light blue background. Grease-proof paper and, sometimes, wood shavings may also be present within the box as each plane was put through its paces on a few planks of wood before being carefully packed in its box along with the shavings produced. Various 'instructions for use' and other brochures were also placed in the box prior to shipping.